This edition's headlines: Pre-Election forum; State Election Questionnaire Responses; Floods; Queen Victoria Market; A win at Oaklands Junction; Saving Mount Eliza's reservoir as a public wetland; Royal Exhibtion Building and Carlton Gardens; Kilmore's Equine Overlay; Beaumaris Modern Open Day; Kingston Planning Scheme Amendment C203; Hepburn Shire Biodiversity Threat; Toondah Harbour - Walker Corporation; Save Westesrn Port Woodlands; Caring for Western Port Country; Value
Planning Democracy has designed this questionnaire to help its network of concerned community groups understand where you and/or your party stand on using the Planning Framework to give communities a genuine say in protecting Victoria’s environment, heritage and natural resources.
A Provocate press release dated Thursday 20 January 2022 claims that Australia has just passed two million official Covid cases today (Thursday), with one-in-10 New South Wales and Victorian residents now living with a diagnosis leading into the upcoming Federal Election, according to "the latest VaxEnomicTM Forecaster from C-suite strategy group."
Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 Is out-of-date, old-fashioned
(30/10/14 - SP) MRRA: If the government now thinks SPP8 – the policy it promised to retain – is so out-of-date, so old-fashioned, it's the fault of the government which has had 4 years to fix it, and honour its election promise to put it in place as State policy. Red Alerts Say No To Suburbia Noticeboard
When elected in 2010, the State government promised to protect Macedon Ranges by reconfirming the 40 year policy – Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, Macedon Ranges and Surrounds – as State planning policy.
Before, and many times since that election, the Minister for Planning has repeatedly publicly stated the government would deliver its promise and protect Macedon Ranges.
Last Tuesday (28/10/14), on ABC Radio 774 (Jon Faine show), the Minister for Planning revealed the State government will not keep its promise to protect Macedon Ranges with State policy unless it is re-elected at the State election, now four weeks away.
Listen to the Minister's response to a caller's questions by clicking on the link (starts at 21.57 minutes into the discussion):
https://soundcloud.com/774-abc-melbourne/matthew-guy-on-mornings-with-jon-faine-1 (right click and open in new tab)
The Minister additionally said (mirroring Macedon Ranges Council's argument) that Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 – Macedon Ranges and Surrounds (introduced by the the Hamer government in 1975) is out-of-date and old-fashioned. He said references obsolete planning schemes and policies, and it needs to be 'contemporised' – it couldn't be used in its current form as State policy.
Although Macedon Ranges Shire Council has produced a draft Localised Planning Statement which is not Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, and introduces different policy settings for the Shire, the Minister said Council had produced a document which fulfilled the government's commitment. He attributed the delay in introducing State policy to an "on-going blue" between the local community (i.e. MRRA) and Council, and pledged the State government would act as mediator in the next round of consultation, if re-elected, ensuring neither party took the lead.
When challenged that failure to deliver State policy and Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 is a broken promise, he told the caller "you need to have a conversation with your Council instead of blaming others for your own fights".
See also: Issues that should be decided at the 29 November Victorian State elections (14/10/14).
On 18 November, the Melbourne Age reported in Greens campaigning hard on East West Link in Melbourne inner-city seats:
Ellen Sandell, Greens
"'Labor has only softened their position, they haven't actually changed it,' Ms Sandell said.
"'[Labor] have broken so many public transport promises before and they've changed their position on the East West toll road many times,' Ms Sandell said.
Ms. Sandell reminded voters that the East-West Link was Labor's position in the first place and criticised Labor for effectively 'outsourcing' the decision to the courts rather than committing itself to scrap East-West Link
A shortcoming of this campaign and, indeed, the campaigns by many community groups opposed to road transport is that it fails to question why so many Victorians need to commute such long distances in the first place.#fnGrVic2" id="txtGrVic2">2
Greens' failure to address population growth imposed by both major parties
A more serious shortcoming is the complete failure to even address, let alone oppose, the Victorian government's program to increase Victoria's population by by several million by encouraging large numbers of overseas workers to move to Victoria. This is exemplified by its infamous Live in Victoria web-site. This will surely cause social and ecological catastrophe in Victoria if not stopped. Those who stand to gain by destroying Victoria's livability, are a small minority of Victorians – property speculators, land developers and sweat-shop factory owners.
Why the Greens, a reputedly pro-environment party, has nothing to say about this would mystify many.
Voters, not party officials, should allocate preferences
The report concludes:
"Mr Barber was tight lipped about preference deals and said the Greens would 'cross that bridge when we come to it'."
This may mean that the Victorian upper house ballot still uses the anti-democratic system used in federal Senate elections. With this system, if a voter chooses not to allocate preferences in the way officials have decided he/she is obliged to number every square. As only a minority of voters put themselves through this amount of trouble, the preferential component of the upper house vote, which decides how a substantial proportion of members are elected, is in the hands of party officials and not voters.
Possibly Mr Barber was just referring to "how-to vote" cards for the lower house. Whilst this is not as bad as the system has been for the upper house, it is a fallacy accepted by many voters that if they want to vote for a particular part, then they are obliged to follow all the preferences on that party's "How to vote card".
It would be of concern if either of the above less-than-democratic aspects of Victoria's voting system were acceptable to Mr Barber.
#fnGrVic1" id="fnGrVic1">1. #txtGrVic1">↑ The Legislative Assembly (lower house) has 88 seats and the Legislative Council (upper house) consists of 5 voting regions, each with 5 members. To be elected in the upper house, a candidate needs to win a quota or 16.67% of the vote.
The 16.67% figure for the upper house quota is calculated from the
quota = 100% / (seats + 1) = 100% / (5 + 1) = 16.67%
The equivalent 50% 'quota' for a lower house seat can also be calculated from a trivial use of the above formula:
quota = 100% / (seats + 1) = 100% / (1 + 1) = 50%
Accordingly, it is more likely small party candidates or independents will win seats in the upper house and hold the balance of power there. However, given the bipartisan support for wealthy corporate interests by both of the two parties, the bloc of small party and minor candidates in the upper house will, in effect, be a small minority.
#fnGrVic2" id="fnGrVic2">2. #txtGrVic2">↑ Surely, it must have been possible for town planners, to put places of work much closer to where people lived. It should surely be possible in a well-planned town, for most people be able to cycle to work in 15 minutes or less and only for a small minority to have to travel long distances either by public transport or by road?
The long hours that many work, including after hours and weekend overtime, through obligation or economic compulsion also adds to traffic congestion. More than three decades after the Australian Trade Union movement launched its campaign for a 35 hour week in the late 1970s, why are so many Australians still working 38 hours per week or much longer?
Victorian voters could on Saturday 29 November begin to take back their state Parliament from the vested interests that are now running Victoria.
If presented with open, informed discussion there is every reason to hope that a far larger proportion of Victorians than in previous years will vote for good independent or small party candidates and not for either of the two major parties.
The policies listed below are much of what I would like to see from the new Victorian government after 29 November. I believe that, if presented with the policies listed below, most Victorians would support them or, if not at first, would after open debate and discussion. So this document is intended to be guide to Victorians as to which of the candidates to vote for on 29 November, depending on the candidates' response to my survey, which I intend to publish here in coming days.#fnVElec1" id="txtVElec1"> 1
If you support these policies, and you know of a candidate in your electorate who also supports these polices, please consider offering to help him/her. Alternatively, if there is no candidate who supports these policies standing in your electorate or upper house region, the why not consider nominating yourself?#fnVElec2" id="txtVElec2"> 2
More government participation in the economy
#VicElecPolicy1" id="VicElecPolicy1">1. No privatisation of any asset in which large numbers of Victorians have a stake, for example the Port of Melbourne.#fnVElec3" id="txtVElec3"> 3 No privatisation of public buildings and public land. As the means to do so become available, reverse privatisations which have occurred since the time of the Kirner Labor Government in the early 1990's. Conduct a pubic audit of these privatisations.
#VicElecPolicy2" id="VicElecPolicy2">2. Expand the size of state government work force. The goal is for each Victorian who needs work to be offered work in a occupation which provides useful services to the community and which matches his/her interests and has on-the-job training and career structure. Private employers to be encouraged to do likewise.
#VicElecPolicy3" id="VicElecPolicy3">3. Public Bank of Victoria to be established. It is to be run like the Bank of North Dakota in accordance with the principles of the United States Public Banking Institute.#fnVElec4" id="txtVElec4"> 4
Full employment in secure and fulfilling occupations
#VicElecPolicy5" id="VicElecPolicy5">5. No section 457 visas where there are local tradespersons. Employers must prove that they have attempted to train local workers before they are allowed to import new workers with 457 visas.
#VicElecPolicy6" id="VicElecPolicy6">6. Abolish sweat-shops in which illegal foreign workers are exploited. Employers found to have illegally exploited foreign workers in such factories to be prosecuted and jailed. Any public officer found to have been complicit in these sweatshops to also be prosecuted and jailed.
#VicElecPolicy8" id="VicElecPolicy8">8. Flexible part-time working hours to be offered to government workers who wish to work less than a full week's work.#fnVElec7" id="txtVElec7"> 7 Private employers to be encouraged to do likewise.
#VicElecPolicy9" id="VicElecPolicy9">9. Create government enterprises to compete with private business. This will provide incentives for privately owned business better services and charge less.#fnVElec8" id="txtVElec8"> 8 Government enterprises to include: real estate, funerals, car dealerships, equipment hire and land development.
#VicElecPolicy10" id="VicElecPolicy10">10. Re-build Australian manufacturing in Victoria.#fnVElec9" id="txtVElec9"> 9 The government to plan the rebuilding of manufacturing with the private sector. Protective tariffs to be imposed to protect manufactured items as agreed to in the plan.
Effective town planning
#VicElecPolicy12" id="VicElecPolicy12">12. End approval for high rise apartments.#fnVElec11" id="txtVElec11">11 At most, allow medium density housing of heights of no more than 3 stories close to parkland, bushland, shops, schools and other amenities.
#VicElecPolicy14" id="VicElecPolicy14">14. Public liability insurance funding to be established for community events as done in NSW.
Reduce waste, make Victoria sustainable
Computers, information technology and the Internet
#VicElecPolicy17" id="VicElecPolicy17">17. Free open source software#fnVElec15" id="txtVElec15">15 to be used in all government departments, statuary authorities, TAFE colleges and schools. Private companies and institutions to be encouraged to do likewise. The Victorian government to make generous financial contributions to the providers of open-source software.
#VicElecPolicy18" id="VicElecPolicy18">18. Establish a free social network on the Internet as an alternative to Facebook, Google and Twitter. That social network is to respect the privacy of its users and be free, transparently run and without commercial advertising.#fnVElec16" id="txtVElec16">16
#VicElecPolicy22" id="VicElecPolicy22">22. Encourage food self-sufficiency. Wherever possible, make land available to local communities so that they can emulate extant local initiatives such as Down's Estate at Seaford Wetlands. Available members of the Down's Estate group and others with expertise to be hired by the government to instruct other communities.
Biodiversity protection and respect for other species
#VicElecPolicy23" id="VicElecPolicy23">23. Preserve remaining native flora and fauna. Re-vegetate urban areas to provide additional living space for endangered wildlife.
#VicElecPolicy24" id="VicElecPolicy24">24. Avoid disturbance of established wildlife populations so that their social organisation and local biofeedback is preserved since this will tend to regulate their population in line with territorial and migratory rules
#VicElecPolicy25" id="VicElecPolicy25">25. Outlaw the harassment of possums, such as the banding of palm trees with bands of steel by the St Kilda Council to prevent possums being able to climb the trees.
#VicElecPolicy26" id="VicElecPolicy26">26. Protect wildlife with strategic underpasses and overpasses on freeways. To protect wildlife, these are to be mandatory on all new roads and retrofitted to older roads within 10 km of green spaces in order to maintain migratory pathways.
Improving the health of Ordinary Victorians
#VicElecPolicy28" id="VicElecPolicy28">28. Government employees to share office duties with outside manual workers to remove health hazards caused by long hours of physical inactivity#fnVElec21" id="txtVElec21">21, Private employers to be encouraged to do the same for their workers.
Protection of civil liberties, freedom of speech
#VicElecPolicy29" id="VicElecPolicy29">29. Outlaw indiscriminate telecommunications surveillance#fnVElec22" id="txtVElec22">22 of Victorians as revealed by Julian Assange and Edward Snowden and others.
#VicElecPolicy30" id="VicElecPolicy30">30. Acknowledge the debt of gratitude that the Victorian people owe to fellow Victorian Julian Assange and protect him from unjust persecution.#fnVElec23" id="txtVElec23">23
About the author
I stood in the 2009 Queensland state treasurer in the seat of Mount Coot-tha against then Treasurer Andrew Fraser. (prior to that on 15 March 2008, I had also stood against the current Queensland Premier Campbell Newman for Lord Mayor of Brisbane.) Articles about that election and my campaign can be found here. The reason I stood was I wanted to stop the further privatisation of Queensland's public assets which had started under the previous premier Peter Beattie. Amongst other assests Beattie privatised the State Government Insurance (SGIO - as it was then know, it is now known as 'Suncorp') and the Golden Casket lottery corpration, neither with any electoral mandate. I feared that then Premier Anna Bligh planned to privatise more public assets and that no other candidate was going to raise the issue. Sadly, I was right about both concerns (although one member of the Queensland, Dorothy Pratt, the independent member for Nanango until she retired in 2012 spoke, in Parliament against privatisation).
Whilst the Greens had stated their opposition to privatisation, they did not raise that issue during the election campaign as far as I was aware. Had they done so, they would almost certainly have a received a much better vote and considerably improved the prospects for success of the subsequent campaign against privatisation.
After the election Queensland Premier Anna Bligh claimed that she had suddenly discovered that debts owed by the Queensland Government and that necessary public expenditure on government programs made privatisation of a number of assets necessary. These assets included:
- Queensland Motorways Limited (Operating the Gateway Bridge and Logan Motorway tolling systems);
- The Port of Brisbane Authority;
- Forestry Plantations Queensland;
- Abbot Point Coal Terminal; and
- Coal carrying rail lines, currently owned by Queensland Rail (QR Passenger services will remain nationalised).
Sadly, I had been injured almost fatally on 10 May 2010, when a four wheel drive ran into me on my bicycle on my way to work. I was lucky not to be killed. My brain was concussed and I suffered #js">diffuse axonal brain damage. Consequently I am not able to work as effectively as I once could (although people tell me that my intellect, if not my memory, coordination and stamina, is about as good as it was before my injury).
Because I was disabled, I was not able to stand in the Australian Federal Elections of 21 August 2010 and the Queensland state elections of 24 March 2012. If I had, I would surely have got a much higher vote in both.
As a result of public outrage at Premier Bligh's asset sell-off, the Labor Party was routed by Liberal/National leader Campbell Newman in the 2012 state elections. Since then, contrary to the clear wishes of Queenslanders, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman is now proceeding with his own program of yet more privatisations.
This sad experience demonstrates that neither of the major parties offer any real alternative to voters, who will have to find an alternative elsewhere.
#fnVElec1" id="fnVElec1">1.#txtVElec1">↑ in 2009, prior I conducted a survey of all the candidates who were intending to stand in the Queensland elections to be held that year. The results were posted here on 18 Mar 2009. Recently, In Victoria, a survey was conducted regarding the Victorian music industry on 17 September on TheMusic.com. The results of its survey can be found in this report card (pdf, 57K).
#fnVElec2" id="fnVElec2">2.#txtVElec2">↑ You can nominate between Wednesday 5 November and 12 noon on Friday 14 November. That gives you over a week to nominate. If you do nominate, please be sure let us know by either posting a comment at the foot of this page or by contacting us through the contact page so that we can support you.
#fnVElec3" id="fnVElec3">3.#txtVElec3">↑ Privatisation is not to occur unless it can be shown from the public audits of past privatistions, that the claims, made by its proponents, that privatisation was beneficial to Victoria and made the economy more efficient were correct. This claim is against intuition and all of the evidence of which I am aware.
#fnVElec4" id="fnVElec4">4.#txtVElec4">↑ Eventually the Public bank of Victoria could also be expanded to become a nationwide public bank like the old Commonwealth Bank of Australia before it was privatised by the Keating Government between 1991 and 1996 with no electoral mandate. Also, read Web of Debt (2007 ... 2013) The Public Bank Solution (2013) by Ellen Brown.
#fnVElec5" id="fnVElec5">5.#txtVElec5">↑ Live in Victoria is Victorian Government website which encourages high immigration which causes more crowded public transport, more congested roads, higher housing costs and higher unemployment and other social, economic and ecological problems. Whilst population growth, which increases the number of people amongst which amenities and natural resources must be shared, cannot possibly improve the quality of life of Victorians already living here, a small minority, perversely gain from everyone else's loss. This includes property speculators who gain from increased demand for shelter.
#fnVElec6" id="fnVElec6">6.#txtVElec6">↑ Over 35 years ago, in the late 1970's the trade union movement launched an industrial campaign for a 35 hour week. The stated goal of the campaign was to share the available work around so that nobody was out of work. Under Bob Hawke's leadership the Australia Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) quickly adopted the cop-out compromise demand for a 38 hour week. The 38 hour week was eventually won, but the longer term goal of further reductions in the working week was forgotten. Only a minority of today's workers still enjoy that token reduction in working hours. Many work much overtime as an economic necessity because of ever-increasing house prices, mortgage payments, rent and the many other living expenses of Australia's dysfunctional economy. Many are forced by their employers to work overtime and some even bullied into working unpaid overtime.
On top of that, creeping credentialism has made it necessary for ever more of the workforce to improve their skills by undertaking TAFE and tertiary courses in their own time at their own expense.
Possible exceptions to reduced working hours may be justified for a small minority of the workforce which truly enjoys its tie at work (for example, some research scientists).
#fnVElec7" id="fnVElec7">7.#txtVElec7">↑ One reason why some workers prefer to work less hours and get paid less is that they own their own home and don't have to pay rent or mortgage. Rather than earning more money to spend on material acquisitions, they would prefer to spend more time away from work in activities they enjoy – painting, writing, gardening, bushwalking, etc..
#fnVElec8" id="fnVElec8">8.#txtVElec8">↑ Should this cause some private businesses not to be financially viable, employment to be offered to employees of those businesses where they have sufficient merit.
#fnVElec9" id="fnVElec9">9.#txtVElec9">↑ The destruction of Australia's manufacturing industry was the direct result of decisions made by the Labor governments of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. Shortly after Labor was elected in 1983, Paul Keating, as Federal Treasurer and with no electoral mandate, embraced global 'free market' policies beginning with the floating of the Australian dollar. (In part, this was an extension of the initial reduction of protective tariffs curiously adopted by the otherwise progressive government of Gough Whitlam in 1975.)
To rebuild the manufacturing base that Australia once had will not be easy nor can occur without Australians incurring some economic hardship, but no country without the skill or expertise to build technologies that are comparable to those of other countries in its region can hope to resist colonisation.
#fnVElec10" id="fnVElec10">10.#txtVElec10">↑ Set a goal that 90% of Melburnians should require no more than 10 minutes to cycle to work. Public transport to be provided for those who need to travel further.
#fnVElec11" id="fnVElec11">11.#txtVElec11">↑ High rise accommodation is presented as a way to reduce urban sprawl. Instead of being forced to live on the outskirts of Melbourne with few local amenities, no public transport, and an immensely long drive to work, Melburnians can now choose to live closer to work and amenities, in tiny high-rise apartments a long way above dirt, natural vegetation and what little native wildlife there may be.
There is much additional cost to living in these crowded high-rise apartments that is not borne by free-standing home dwellers. This includes additional energy costs for air conditioning, for travelling up and down lifts and for lighting the stair wells. Furthermore, more people will have to share the local infrastructure surrounding the new high rises.
#fnVElec12" id="fnVElec12">12.#txtVElec12">↑ Many of the locations, both undercover and in open spaces, where community groups could easily meet at little or no cost, have been sold off in the wave of privatisations which have occurred since the 1990s. The audit called for in #fnVElecPolicy1">policy 1 will show which spaces were once publicly owned and when and by whom they were sold off.
#fnVElec13" id="fnVElec13">13.#txtVElec13">↑ Ideally, homes should be owned by the occupants. Until this is possible, the quantity of government-owned rental stock should be increased. Private renters should be better protected. In general, rents should not be raised higher than the CPI. Leases should not be terminated without good reason. Such a reason might be that the landlord himself/herself requires shelter.
#fnVElec14" id="fnVElec14">14.#txtVElec14">↑ Through economic incentives, ensure that only the minimum amount of packaging necessary to carry, store and label the product is used. Manufacturers and retailers, particularly supermarkets, to be taxed to pay the cost of landfill necessary to dispose of waste from their products.
Abolish aluminium drink cans. All drinks and beverages to be sold in containers of standard shapes and sizes for which a refundable deposit is to be paid. I recall with my memory, such that it is, that maybe, about 15 years ago, somebody put up a proposal that all beverages (meaning to include, I think, drinks, sauces, preserved fruit and vegetables and sandwich spreads) be sold in refundable glass containers, which are to be made to standardised shapes and sizes. This sensible and innovative proposal was clearly not adopted. Could anyone else who is aware of this proposal please provide me with specific details about the proposal, including: when was it proposed, by whom and did the authorities offer any reason given for the proposal not being adopted?
Scandalously, the Microsoft Corporation also put in Windows, software that caused a computer, when connected to the Internet, to directly send to the NSA spy computers about which #VicElecPolicy31">Edward Snowden blew the whistle, much of the information contained on that computer including e-mail addresses, e-mails, other documents, web sites visted and passwords. to spy on every computer connnected to the Internet through its blanket surveillance exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Open source software includes the Linux and FreeBSD operating systems and virtually all of the network (TCP/IP) software which drives the Internet. Open source applications software includes the LibreOffice office suit which can be used in place of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Access. Web-sites from which open-source application software can also be downloaded includes Source Forge, Git Hub and Apache. Much of this free application software can also be run on computers which run the proprietary Microsoft and Apple operating systems.
#fnVElec16" id="fnVElec16">16.#txtVElec16">↑ Possibly such a free, transparent and non-profit-driven social network is already in existence. If such a network can be identified, the Victorian government should offer generous financial support to it.
#fnVElec17" id="fnVElec17">17.#txtVElec17">↑ No government information is to be kept from public without good reason. Appoint independent adjudicator to handle disputes where government officers do not wish to disclose requested documents. Adjudicator to report to parliament at least twice every year.
#fnVElec18" id="fnVElec18">18.#txtVElec18">↑ A good example is the extortionately expensive East-West Link project. Why the Victorian government felt it necessary to sign a "commercial in confidence" contract has never been explained to the Victorian public as far as I am aware.
#fnVElec19" id="fnVElec19">19.#txtVElec19">↑ Built-in obsolescence includes non-availability of affordable spare parts. Wherever built-in obsolescence can be proven, those who designed the product should be prosecuted for conspiracy.
#fnVElec20" id="fnVElec20">20.#txtVElec20">↑ The research could be performed by university researchers or government staff. There is much anecdotal evidence, in addition to credible scientific research, which indicates that the consumption of highly processed foods which contain sugar, corn syrup and other additives may be harmful to our health and contributing cause to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other ailments.
#fnVElec21" id="fnVElec21">21.#txtVElec21">↑ One of the biggest killers today is office work. If office workers were to perform manual work for part of the week, the threat to their health from sitting for hours at a time would be considerably reduced. Also, fewer office workers would not need to spend so much of their leisure time in gyms to stay healthy.
#fnVElec23" id="fnVElec23">23.#txtVElec23">↑ The Victorian government to acknowledge the debt of gratitude that the Victorian people owe to Julian Assange for his decades of tireless activism for free speech, against surveillance and against war. The Victorian Government to demand of the UK government that Julian Assange be granted safe passage to Victoria. Requests by the the United States government for the extradition of Assange to be refused. Requests by Swedish Government for extradition to be refused unless Sweden guarantees to refuse extradition requests from the United States. Should the Swedish Government refuse, offer to hold trial of Julian Assange in Australia. If it is found that the charges of rape against against Assange have no basis, pursue a damages claim against the Swedish government on behalf of Julian Assange.
#fnVElec24" id="fnVElec24">24.#txtVElec24">↑ The debt of gratitude is for Edward Snowden's revelation of the scale of surveillance by the United States' NSA and the United Kingdom's GCHQ on the citizens of the UK the US, Australia, New Zealand and New Zealand. Offer to Edward Snowden the right to travel to Victoria with a guarantee that extradition requests from from the United Sates would be refused.
Moreland residents seeking to divert funds for the East West Toll Road and Tunnel into public transport initiatives will gather together with groups and individuals from across Victoria for Saturday's 1pm Trains Not Toll Roads rally outside the State Library at La Trobe and Swanston streets.
This is Moreland Council's second endorsed rally for public transport and residents supporting the Moreland Community Against the East West Tunnel (MCAT) campaign will underscore the 24-hour noise threat the project poses to endangered animals at the Melbourne Zoo and the denuding of Royal Park through the loss of more than 5,200 trees.
"There are so many better uses to be made of $8 Billion that would actually get vehicles off the road by putting people onto public transport," said MCAT spokesperson Moreland Cr Sue Bolton. "In Moreland alone, a small percentage of those dollars could extend the Sydney Road and Melville Road tram lines, install dual rail tracks north of Gowrie Station, build additional bike paths and improve bus services including into areas where there are none."
Cr Bolton said that Moreland supporters would be gathering at 12.30pm by the library sculpture at La Trobe and Swanston streets and include a reprise by children in costume and their parents who participated in the Children's March for the Animals to Melbourne Zoo on 4 May.
For additional information contact:
Moreland Council: Councillor Sue Bolton, mobile 0417 583 664
Moreland Community Against the Tunnel (MCAT): Michael Petit, mobile 0417 354 169
2014 stand for. We believe that the implementation of the polices listed below would serve the interests of Victorians and would be supported by the overwhelming majority of Victorians if they were asked. however, few of thel of the policies listed below, are publicly supported by any of the major parties contesting the Victorian State elections to be held on 30 November 2014.<.p>
We expect that there will be candidates from other small parties and independent candidates, who support these policies. Where candobetter becomes awaer of such candidates, we will do all that we can to promote the and support them.
1. End privatisations of all assets in which large numbers of Victorians have a stake, for example the Port of Melbourne, public buildings and public land.
2. Reverse previous privatisations of assets in which Victorians had a stake in running, as examples electricity, public transport, coalfields, etc. as the means to do so are acquired.
3. Open source software: Government departments, statutary authorities, TAFE colleges and schools to use free open-source software based on open standards in place of proprietary software such as Microsoft.
4. No cooperation with NSA ostensible "anti-terrorist" surveillance program.
5. Public transport to be extended provided to make fewer dependant upon private cars.
6. Effective town planning so that very few Victorians are not within easy cycing or walkind distance from their places of work.
7. End the encouragement of population growth.
8. Protect remaining Australian wildlife habitats. Regrow bushland wherever possible.
9. End wasteful package including aluminium cans. All beverages to be sold in standardised containers for which a deposit is to be paid and refunded. Containers are to be made of glass wherever possible.
10. Remove secrecy from government wherever possible. No Government to sign any contract with private corporations which is "commercial, in confidence" such as the contract to build teh east-west Link.
11. Direct Democracy as it is practised in Switzerland.
In late May 2014 the Syrian Girl debated on UK's Islam TV the legitimacy of the recently concluded elections. She debated on-line from Australia, two supporters of the terrorist insurgency who were present in a London studio. Whilst the moderator deserves credit for allowing the Syrian Girl to put her view, he also showed himself to be biased in favour of the insurgency. In the limited time available to her, the Syrian Girl again showed a very good grasp of the complexity of the Syrian conflict and effectively rebutted the claims made by the other two participants.
In an enlightened move for the Greens, the party in SA is actually acknowledging the strong and obvious link between living standards, environmental conservation and climate change – something that shouldn't be so obscure for the rest of the party with an environmental focus!
Mark Parnell MLC is the current sitting Greens member in the Legislative Council, and supports the protection of the environment and everyone's right to live in a just, humane and healthy world. Policies dominated by the vested interests of property developers, and corporations that feed of population growth, are contrary to these aims.
The South Australian Greens’ policy also appears at odds with that of the federal Greens, which states that “an Australian population policy must consider the geographical distribution of human settlements rather than just concentrate upon population size”.
The Australian: Greens preference fringe group pushing zero population growth This article is "premium content" behind a Murdoch media paywall. If asked to pay or provide personal details to view this diatribe, we recommend you don't. - Ed
The “geographical distribution” of our human settlements is largely in our coastal cities, our “green belt”, fringing the world's driest continent. Avoiding the population size in the debate has been characteristic of the Green's population policy – which is more an apology rather than something they can actually implement.
The SA Greens say “part of reducing our ecological footprint requires reducing the rate of population growth”. While the Greens, and most other “green” groups, concentrate on the footprints of individuals, and living sustainably, they ignore the absolute overall growth in the number of feet! It's a convenient diversion, and intellectual dishonesty to stay politically correct.
“The Greens will aim to stabilise South Australia’s population within a generation,” is a policy platform says. Thanks to years of high growth rates, slowing down the momentum takes time, but at least there should be a stable population if we start now, with this generation. We owe it to future generations that the nation, the planet, we hand down to them is largely intact, and there is room for move for innovation, quality lifestyles, conservation and existing ecosystems, - and that they are not crushed by the greed of this generation's pro-growthists!
Mark Parnell, an upper house MP and leader of the Greens in South Australia, said “zero population growth on this planet is absolutely inevitable”. However, the ABS reveals that South Australia's fertility levels are below the other states, at 1.89, compared to other States of over 2.0 in Tasmania.
The desired “growth” will be from net overseas immigration levels, running at 60% of our population growth nationally, not from the number of children being born. It's artificial growth, socially engineered by Federal and State governments.
The SA Green's population policy says that: South Australia, even with its relatively small population, has a disproportionately large ecological footprint. In fact, if everyone in the world were to live like us, we would need more than three planet Earths to provide us with the all the resources we consume and deal with all the waste we produce....In South Australia, both the number of people and the per-person consumption are increasing, intensifying our unsustainable impact. Improvements in technology may help reduce our impact, but we also need to stabilise our population and deal with overconsumption and waste.
We need a new approach to prosperity that challenges the underlying assumptions of growth and consumption.
Parnell recognises that his policy on population are at odds with the Greens at national level. Stabilising our popualtion needs to be a national target, and a good start is at State level.
Once land is subdivided, planning laws are made maleable and flexible, and “growth” becomes ingrained into the culture and texture of the economy, it becomes inevitable.
The executive of the SPGN is comprised of former members of the Australian Democrats, scientists, accountants and IT professionals. With the demise of the Democrats, they have morphed in to a millennial ‘save the earth’ party. The SPNG’s aim is to “Reduce Australia's rate of population growth to zero as rapidly as possible. If the resulting stable population is still environmentally unsustainable then work to reduce the size of the population until we achieve environmental sustainability.”
For too long, our nation's demographic patterns causing record-breaking rates of growth have been artificially manipulated, without public debate, and democratic reference.
How Stop Population Growth Now will seek to implement its zero population growth policy:
1.Reduce immigration. Australia's present very high rate of immigration has been foisted on the Australian public without any chance to vote on this issue. -
2.Strongly discourage families of more than 2 children, whilst continuing to welcome 1 or 2 child families. “We do not favour any coercive strategies for family planning such as the Chinese one-child policy but we do not believe that couples should be encouraged or rewarded to have families of more than 2 children through baby bonuses or other benefits”.
The so-called “population control” agenda has been corrupted by the mainsteam media to assert that the party will malignantly “control” the number of children families will be allowed to have. It's hardly any vision of humans being invasive vermin like rats, ravaging the Earth! Most of our population growth is due to government immigration policies, (running at 60% of our population growth) to propagate the housing industry, and not based on Australia's fragile landscape of increasingly hostile weather patterns, declining living standards, ecological damage from urban expansion, rising fuel prices and declining jobs.
Film and text of speech now available inside article. Speech given at Planning Backlash Forum of 7 Nov 2010: "In July last year I made a 22 page submission to the Victorian Government titled “5 Million is too many: Securing the Social and Environmental Future of Melbourne”. So given that I think 5 million would be too many, you can imagine what I think of the idea of doubling Melbourne’s population to 8 million. Melbourne’s population is growing on a scale not seen in Australia before, swelling by almost 150,000 people in the last two years. Melbourne’s population is growing by more than 200 people per day, 1500 per week, 75,000 per year. This is much faster than all other major Australian cities. It will give us another million people in 15 years."
Text of Speech by Kelvin Thomson, Member for Wills Richmond Town Hall, 7 November 2010
In July last year I made a 22 page submission to the Victorian Government titled “5 Million is too many: Securing the Social and Environmental Future of Melbourne”. So given that I think 5 million would be too many, you can imagine what I think of the idea of doubling Melbourne’s population to 8 million.
Melbourne’s population is growing on a scale not seen in Australia before, swelling by almost 150,000 people in the last two years. Melbourne’s population is growing by more than 200 people per day, 1500 per week, 75,000 per year. This is much faster than all other major Australian cities. It will give us another million people in 15 years.
The national rate of population growth has sped up since the mid 2000s. The recent growth rate of 2% per year is faster than at any other time in decades, and faster than nearly every other developed country.
Is this population growth good? Well it’s certainly not much good for the birds, plants and animals. This year Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary was expanded by 43,000 hectares; which is roughly the size of four Phillip Islands.
This will allow the destruction of 7,000 hectares of volcanic plains grassland, and nearly 1000 hectares of grassy woodland. Since European settlement over 95% of Victoria’s original native grassland has been destroyed. I believe we should be protecting the less than 5% we still have.
And it’s hard to see how extra population is good for people, either. Expanding the Urban Growth Boundary contradicts the Melbourne 2030 Plan. Melbourne 2030 was justified in the name of stopping urban sprawl. It hasn’t. Suburbs continue to march out onto the horizon.
Property developers are having their cake and eating it too. We’re growing both upward and outwards. Melbourne is becoming an obese, hardened-artery parody of its former self.
At the current rate of car possession per household, Melbourne will add a further 1.1 million cars by 2036, or well above 3 million cars in Melbourne. Does anyone in this room seriously think moving around in Melbourne is going to get anything but harder? We presently have 2 million cars; we are heading for an extra million! And yes, we should be virtuous and get out of our cars and onto trams and trains, but, as it turns out, they’re full too.
Melbourne’s population growth is bad for the environment. We all know we need to reduce our carbon emissions, but its pretty hard to reduce your carbon footprint when you keep adding more feet.
We are using less water than we used to, but we still have to turn to energy-hungry desalination to cater for our growing population. And Melbourne’s 75,000 extra people every year undermines the value of the water restrictions we put on ourselves. Growing population puts upward pressure on prices and lowers our standard of living. Scarce resources like land, water, petrol, electricity become dearer, as we turn to more expensive sources of supply. Competition for food and housing pushes food and housing prices up.
These cost of living pressures are most clearly evident in electricity and gas prices and council rates. The most populated cities, Melbourne and Sydney, have seen the highest electricity price rises. Prices have more than doubled in the past 10 years. In real terms, Melbourne prices have risen by over 50% - 52%. So have Sydney’s – 51%.
Now you might think that more people – a growing population – would lead to economies of scale and lead to lower electricity prices, but you would be wrong.
Instead of rising population causing lower prices, it leads to a need for extra infrastructure and therefore higher prices. And the more crowded a city becomes, the higher the cost of doing business. Congestion costs kick in, and just maintaining electricity infrastructure becomes more expensive.
Rising population is putting upward pressure on water and gas prices. We’ve already got at the easy water, and the easy gas.
Augmenting our supplies involves things like desalination plants and pipelines, which come at greater expense than our present supplies. It is a similar unhappy story with local council rates. I always expected that more people in my municipality would lead to lower rate bills, due to economies of scale, and more people sharing the rate load. The opposite has been the case.
In nominal terms Council rates in Melbourne have increased by over 100% - more than doubled – from 2000 to 2010. In real terms rates have increased over 48%. Regrettably this pattern of increasing rates is set to continue. Victorians will pay an average of $79 more in their rates in 2010-2011, up by over 6% from last year, based on draft Council budgets. This is well above the CPI, and again underscores the impact of rising population on local government finances. These costs of population growth – rising electricity prices, rising water prices, rising gas prices, rising Council rates – are being borne most of all by those who can least afford them – fixed income earners and pensioners in particular.
Now the growth lobby has to concede pretty much everything I’ve just said, but they say the problems are poor planning and lack of provision of infrastructure. If you scratch below the surface, they think its all about multi-unit developments, dual occupancies, and increasingly high rise.
Now the first problem with high rise is that it doesn’t do what its claimed to do; that is, reduce our environmental footprint. The Australian Government’s State of Australian Cities Report 2010 found that, when both direct and indirect environmental impacts are taken into account, environmental impacts at the household level are associated with higher incomes and smaller household sizes.
Therefore, despite the opportunities for efficiency and reduced environmental impacts offered by more compact forms of urban living, inner city households of capital cities, followed by the inner suburban areas, feature the highest consumption of water use, energy use and ecological footprints, even when reduced car use is taken into account.
The second problem is that high rise and infill spells the death of the suburban backyard. I confess to being a fan of it. There is something intangible but important about the personal space of a backyard.
I believe the children who grow up in concrete jungle suburbs are subject to more bullying and harassment and are more vulnerable to traps such as crime and drugs. What do you call a kid with a backyard? A free range kid. I think free range kids have a better time of it than battery kids.
The third problem is that not everyone wants to live next door to high rise or multi-unit developments, but these things are imposed on them anyway. In Dick Smith’s film ‘Population Puzzle’, you will see the story of the dignified elderly widow in Sydney – I think it is in Double Bay – who refused to sell her home to property developers who wanted to build a skyscraper on it. She found herself surrounded by skyscraper developments which dwarfed her home and blocked out the sun.
The fourth problem is the issue of health. In April the Medical Journal of Australia published a study which found heart disease, diabetes, chronic neck and back pain, asthma and migraine were less prevalent among those with more green space available to them. There was a very strong correlation between lack of green space and depression and anxiety disorders. Those living in more built-up areas are at an increased risk of developing schizophrenia.
Another study found urban sprawl in Sydney was linked to a greater likelihood of being overweight or obese, and inadequate physical activity. Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer.
I want to turn now to two matters which have featured recently in the news. You know that the growth lobby says that Australia is short of workers – to be precise they say ‘Australia has a skills shortage’ for which their solution is to import more labour. Yet a fortnight ago it was reported that Broadmeadows has an unemployment rate of 15.9% - I repeat 15.9%. Broadmeadows is just beyond the northern boundary of my electorate and I know it very well.
According to the 2006 Census, of the people in Broadmeadows aged 25 and over, over 50% were born in non-English speaking countries – over 50%. And for men aged 25-44, over 47% of the Non-English Speaking Country born reported income of less than $399 per week. This is entrenched unemployment, poverty, and disadvantage.
Now if we continue running a high migration program, they might go and work in iron ore mines in the Pilbara, but the evidence isn’t promising. It suggests that significant numbers will simply get caught up in a cycle of unemployment, poverty and disadvantage, as has happened in Broadmeadows.
So I suggest, before we succumb to the wailing of employers crying “skills shortage”, we put our talents to finding work for those 15.9% unemployed in Broadmeadows who are entitled to our attention. I don’t care whether we find them work in Broadmeadows or in the Pilbara, but let’s not talk about skills shortage again until we’ve got them into the workplace.
And the second item in the news recently was the latest rise in interest rates. Australia used to be the envy of the world in terms of its levels of home ownership. It was the place where everyone could aspire to a home of their own. Now housing in Melbourne is as unaffordable as just about anywhere in the world.
During 2009 housing affordability around Australia declined by over 22% due to a massive gap between the number of dwellings being built and the number of new people wanting housing. The Housing Industry Association says Australia’s fast growing population is pushing new dwelling requirements to record high levels. It predicted around 152,000 new dwellings will be commenced in 2010, well short of the 190,000 it estimates is required to keep up with a growing population.
The inevitable consequence of this gap is rising house prices which, combined with the rising electricity, gas, water, council rates, I described earlier, pushes the Reserve Bank to increase interest rates to head off inflation.
Australians now owe financial institutions more than $1 trillion in housing mortgages, almost 15 times as much as 20 years ago, according to the Reserve Bank.
Rising interest rates claw away at already poor housing affordability and will send Australians deeper into debt.
Runaway population growth is damaging our young people’s chances of buying a home. Our children’s chances of buying their own home are fading away, and unless we take steps to tackle runaway population growth, they will disappear.
Many people – a two to one majority according to opinion polls – share my concerns about population growth. But many people think it’s inevitable, that there’s nothing we can do about it. This is not so. Our population number is a direct consequence of our level of net overseas migration, and that depends on decisions made each year by the Federal Government. If we return our net annual migration number to 70,000 – the kind of number we had quite often in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, we could stabilise Australia’s population at 26 million by 2050, instead of the 36 million it is presently projected to rise to.
The best way to cut back our migration number is to cut skilled migration, which in 1995 was 24,000 but is now over 100,000. It should go back to 25,000. There is no need to cut the family reunion program, and indeed there is room to increase the refugee program, which is presently 13,750 and could rise to 20,000.
We should get rid of the Baby Bonus, and put the $1.4 billion we would save each year into educating and training young Australians at Universities and TAFE.
In November last year I issued a 14 Point Plan for Population Reform, which goes into these matters in detail. It is available on my website.
Like a man rapidly gaining weight who loosens his belt rather than confront his weight problem, Melbourne needs to ask itself, is a population of 5 million really going to give us a better city than one of 4 million?
Accepting galloping population increase as inevitable, or even desirable, will lead to a more polluted, congested and unsustainable Melbourne. Melbourne is generating more greenhouse gas emissions, using more water, losing open space and turning into a high rise steel and concrete jungle. Planners and developers talk the talk of protecting Melbourne’s environment, but their actions have the opposite effect.
They behave as Gough Whitlam once described rowers-facing in one direction but heading in the opposite one.
We need an environmentally sustainable planning policy for Melbourne. We do not need more loss of open space, high rise buildings turning Melbourne into Shanghai or Mexico City, ever larger dwellings like the energy-guzzling McMansions, or policies which encourage reduced numbers of people per dwelling.
We must show the same foresight the founders of this city showed when it was initially designed. They left us with a city with open space, extensive tram and train networks, and liveable suburbs supported by extensive local infrastructure in the form of schools, hospitals and social services. We too should leave a legacy for future generations that we, and they, can be proud of.
I thank you for your interest in this debate. I think no issue is more fundamental to our successfully discharging our responsibility to pass on a world, and an Australian way of life, to our children and grandchildren in as good a condition as the one our parents and grandparents gave to us.
KELVIN THOMSON MP
Member for Wills.
As Australians we pride ourselves with the presumption we live in a democracy, benefiting from the universally accepted principles of 'equality and freedom'.
We are supposed to have a "government of the people, by the people, for the people" [Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865], where our Constitution underscores basic personal and political rights, fair and free elections, and independent courts of law.
Every individual Australian and social group is supposed to have a guarantee of basic human rights. We are supposed to have a separation of powers between the institutions of the state - government [executive power], parliament [legislative power] and Courts of Law [judicative power].
We are supposed to have the freedom of opinion, speech, press and mass media, religious freedom, one person - one vote, and our governments are supposed to exercise good governance in public interest and free of corruption.
Failings of Representative Democracy
In Australia, we are denied direct democracy ('people power'). Why?
Is our political system intended to benefit of the dominant political parties and the interests of their corporate financiers, or the people of Australia?
Why are Australians forced into accepting this lesser standard of 'representative democracy simply due to British commonwealth heritage'?
Elected representatives of the people are supposed to make decisions that represent the wishes of the people, but they don't. Typically in the run up to elections, the political parties nominate their favourite (compliant) candidate and then spend the vast us of money they get from wealthy financiers attached with guarantees of payments in kind (i.e. bribes).
These party brown nosed candidates promise all sorts of things to the electorate which they have targeted from the same funds to pay for professional electorate research. Thee same funds to pay for clever targeted campaigning. Of course the dominant parties get voted in. Independent candidates don't have a democratic chance except once in a blue moon if they have financial resources behind them.
But Australia is not America. Most Australians would disagree that wealth needs to be a condition of entering parliament in order to represent the people. Yet this has become the reality of Australia's electoral process. The two dominant political parties, Labor and Liberal continue to be recipients of obscene levels of financial donations received as inducement for political favours in kind. Such systemic practice is no different to the infamous corruption of nations to Australia's north. It is corruption no less.
Former Prime Minister Ben Chifley, the son of a blacksmith and a train engine driver from Bathurst wouldn't stand a chance in 21st Century Australian millionaire sponsored politics. Yet perhaps like no other Australian prime minister, Chifley remains regarded as one of Australia’s most respected Prime Ministers. Chifley maintained his connections with his electorate at Bathurst until the end of his life. He was born and raised in Bathurst. He held represented the people of the Macquarie Electorate (including Bathurst) throughout his political life. He is buried in Bathurst. Chifley was a true democratic representative of his electorate and he extended this philosophy to his prime ministership of Australia during our uncertain and impoverished post WWII period.
Australia's 'parliamentary democracy' remains a British model adopted over a hundred years ago. It perpetuates an undemocratic dominant two party system allowing the slimmest of majorities control the country, but this is not representing the people.
Australian voters only get an opportunity to choose their representatives once every four years. They base their vote on the promises by their local representative on delivering what most of the people want of their government or the next four years.
But between elections, aside from protests by the Opposition parties and the media screaming to hold the elected representatives accountable for their election promises, voters are denied any say.
Australia's Illiberal Democracy
Australia has a narrower definition of full democracy. It has become less tolerant, less encouraging of real political reform and social progress and less respectful of civil liberties.
Although elections across Australia are conducted fairly, candidate pre-selection and branch stacking is undemocratic, voters are excluded from government agendas, denied any say into party policies, denied any say in drafting legislation, denied any say in constructing government budget priorities. Party politics is where the real political power lies in Australian politics, but this is not democracy.
Our so-called elected representatives keep letting us down. Look at Howard and Rudd! Look at Garrett or Costello! These lot are controlled by their own political party agenda, and Party discipline comes before the wishes of a member of parliament's electorate. Our legislative voting is along party lines, not according to the say of local electoral seats these 'representatives' are supposed to represent.
If every parliamentary lower house and upper house vote was allowed a conscience vote, secret ballot and a vote that represented the wajority wishes of an MP's electorate we perhaps would have genuine democracy, but this doesn't happen. Look what the 'party' did to Liberal Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull when he exercised a conscience vote against Liberal Party policy supporting the government on the Emissions Trading Scheme.
Party gagging policy is more than undemocratic; it is Politburo.
Capable leaders of principle in Australia such as Malcolm Turnbull, Bob Carr, Neville Wran, Andrew Refshauge, Craig Knowles, Laurie Brereton, Petro Georgiou and Graham West are discouraged and discarded by Australia's unprincipled party politics. Any wonder why Australian politics lacks capable leaders. Leaders get more respect in the corporate sector.
Australia has effectively an 'illiberal democracy' - one in which, although elections take place, voters are excluded from the political agenda of party politics, denied any say into party policies, denied any say in drafting legislation, denied any say in constructing government budget priorities. Party politics is where the real political power lies in Australian politics.
In fact we have an illiberal democracy, in which, although elections take place, citizens are cut off from knowledge about the activities of those who exercise real power because of the lack of direct democratic power by the people.
Australia's dominant two political parties are right-wing - economically liberal and socially conservative. Liberal and Labor are almost indistinguishable in political and social philosophies. They are merely 'Lib-Lab' factions of the same philosophical oligarchy.
Australia's mainstream media are not independent. They are dominated by Murdoch's News Ltd and Fairfax - a similar oligarchy with allegiances to the two dominant political parties. They shape public thinking to the agenda of the major political parties and deliberately omit publishing news and issues not aligned with the interested of these two parties.
Australian are denied a bill of rights or human rights act. The dominant parties argue that rights are already well protected in Australia in the Constitution, the Courts and by our parliamentary processes an freedoms. But Australian law does not recognise universal human rights in Australia. Look at the treatment of asylum seekers and anyone suspected of being a terrorist by ASIO or anyone suspected of being a member of a 'bikie' gang in South Australia. Such people can be detained without charge by police just like they are in dictatorships.
Most Australians are denied fair access to our legal system because of its prohibitive cost. Parliamentary laws are increasingly made to give absolute discretion to the minister of the day, who make party political decisions. Development planning and environmental legislation are current examples at both federal and state levels. There may well be separation of powers between the government and the courts, but increasing legislation is being drafted to remove the discretionary powers of the judiciary - again especially in relation to development planning and environmental legislation.
We are supposed to have the freedom of opinion, speech, press and mass media, yet the Australian Communications and Media Authority controls and regulates broadcasting, radio communications and telecommunications and Internet content standards. Currently, the current federal Labor Government is proposing to implement pervasive Internet filtering legislation which will censor all online content.
Australian governments do not exercise good governance. They waste countless billions of public moneys (Rudd's failed insulation scheme, Defence spending wastage, school building programme associated with Rudd's Education Revolution).
And Australian governments have recurring history of corruption.
The abuse of privilege and parliamentary code of conduct by NSW Labor's MP in Penrith, Karen Paluzzano and Minister Ian MacDonald do not send a positive message to the electorate that NSW Labor can be trusted.
Australian Political Reform
What is needed is political reform in Australia. This has many dimensions. The first step is that Australians need to translate their dissatisfaction with the dominant parties, their frustration with the political process, their dis-empowerment by being in 'safe seats', their disillusionment with repeated broken election promises into calls for political reform.
Enough is enough!
Sir Winston Churchill may well have famously said, "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried", but British style constitutional democracy has evolved since the Magna Carta. Why stop evolving it?
Electoral Mandate Imperative
We need a overriding 'electoral mandate' enshrined in the Australian Constitution.
Although Australian elections are not rigged like in Nigeria or Sri Lanka, Australia has a history of gerrymandering, of branch stacking, and a system of party pre-selection for representative candidates.
Preselection of political party candidates for Australian electoral seats at both state and federal level, are appointed typically by a selection committee with a political party which sets rules and conditions for candidates to ensure the agenda of the party is perpetuated. It is a party within a party - a faction. It perpetuates its own party power and influence by choosing who it lets in.
The people of the electorate have no say in the process. In many cases even the rank and file party membership has no say in the process. In 2003, the factional Right in NSW Labor 'installed' Tanya Gadiel, a staffer in Police Minister Michael Costa's office, as Labor's candidate for the 'safe' Labor electoral seat of Parramatta. The electorate were denied a say. Even the rank and file membership of Labor's Parramatta branch were denied a say. The popular former Mayor of Parramatta, David Borger, was cast aside because he belonged to Labor's left faction. Preselection perpetuates political factionalism. It ignores merit and favours cronyism. It is undemocratic.
Political party 'safe seats' practically guarantee power retention by one of the dominant political parties. The federal seat of Kingsford Smith in southern Sydney has long been a safe Labor seat. It was held by Labor's former Deputy Prime Minister Lionel Bowen between 1969-90. Bowen handed over the keys to Laurie Brereton who was a prominent cabinet minister in Keating Ministry. Before retiring in 2004, Labor engineered the local numbers to allow Peter Garret to win pre-selection,who has become Labor's federal environment minister.
Australia's sense of electoral mandate has been eroded by governments not being legally held to account when they break their electoral promises.
Just what do elections entrust governments to do? What are the parameters of that trust?
What happens when those parameters are exceeded mid-term or simply ignored?
At present, nothing! This is undemocratic and unacceptable.
Former Prime Minister John Howard's distinction between 'core and non-core promises' were unacceptable. The concept of a politician at election time making non-core promises is to mislead the electorate. Similarly, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's claim that only his scripted remarks can be taken as "gospel truth" but "in the heat of discussion you go a little bit further", also unacceptable.
Australians have a right to expect and rely on the promises and undertakings made by politicians. Australians have a right to expect their elected representatives will rightfully represent them in parliament, will listen to their needs, be ethical, respect Australian values, exercise their delegated power with due diligence and appropriate governance.
Politicians and political parties have a moral contract with the people when making electoral promises. That moral contract needs to be enshrined in law. Broken promises and exceeding promised parameters constitute a breach of electoral contract and this needs to start triggering re-elections.
The following article is a welcome relief from the near unanimity of the Canadian newsmedia in regard to immigration. However, I did have two minor concerns in an otherwise helpful and informative article. I have addressed these by adding footnotes to the article. - JS, 21 Sep 08
Rather than climbing over each other promising to increase the number of immigrants to Canada, party leaders should acknowledge that levels are already too high.
James Bissett, Citizen Special
Published in Ottawa Citizen: Thursday, 18 September 2008
We sometimes complain about politicians who don't do what they promise to do after they get elected. Ironically, it is sometimes much better for the country when some of these promises are broken.
Let's hope, for example, that the promises made by our political leaders to raise immigration levels and provide more money for immigrant organizations are not kept.
Either our political leaders do not know that Canada is facing an immigration crisis or they care more about gaining a few more so-called "ethnic voters" than they do about telling the truth about immigration.
There is only one reason why our political parties push for high immigration intake and that is they see every new immigrant as a potential vote for their party#main-fn1">1.
Canada is taking far too many immigrants and the leaders of all the parties are promising to take even more.
There are already close to a million immigrants waiting in the backlog to come here. They have all met the requirements and by law must be admitted. There is also a backlog of 62,000 asylum seekers before the refugee board and even if these are not found to be genuine refugees most will be allowed to stay. In addition, there are between 150,000 and 200,000 temporary workers now in the country and here again it is unlikely many of them will ever go home.
Despite these extraordinary numbers, the Harper government wants to raise the immigration intake next year to 265,000. The Liberals and the New Democrats have said they want even more, as much as one per cent of our population, or 333,000 each year.
These are enormous numbers and even in the best of times would place a serious burden on the economy and on the already strained infrastructure of the three major urban centres where most of them would end up.
Let's face the facts -- when there is a turndown in the world economy and dire predictions of serious recession or worse this is not the time to be bringing thousands of newcomers to Canada. In July of this year Ontario alone lost 55,000 jobs -- so what is the rationale for more immigration? The fact is there is no valid rationale. There is only one reason why our political parties push for high immigration intake and that is they see every new immigrant as a potential vote for their party. This is not only irresponsible; it borders on culpable negligence.
There are few economists today who argue that immigration helps the economy in any significant way. Studies in Canada since the mid-1980s have pointed out that immigration has little impact on the economic welfare of the receiving country and similar studies in the United States and Britain have reached the same conclusion. Comprehensive studies by George Borjas, the world's most renown immigration economist at Harvard have shown that immigration's only significant impact is to reduce the wages of native workers.
Our politicians justify their desire for more immigrants by raising the spectre of an aging population and tell us immigration is the only answer to this dilemma, and yet there is not a shred of truth to this argument. Immigration does not provide the answer to population aging and there is a multiplicity of studies done in Canada and elsewhere that proves this.
(Second page of article begins.)
Moreover, there is no evidence that a larger labour force necessarily leads to economic progress. Many countries whose labour forces are shrinking are still enjoying economic buoyancy. Finland, Switzerland and Japan are only a few examples of countries that do not rely on massive immigration to succeed.
Productivity is the answer to economic success, not a larger population.
Most Canadians assume that our immigrants are selected because they have skills, training and education that will enable them to enhance our labour force but only about 18 to 20 per cent of our immigrants are selected for economic factors. By far the bulk of the immigrants we receive come here because they are sponsored by relatives or because of so-called humanitarian reasons and none of these have to meet the "points system" of selection#main-fn2">2.
This is why over 50 per cent of recent immigrants are living below the poverty line and why they are not earning nearly the wages paid to equivalent Canadian workers.
It also explains why a study published this year by professor Herbert Grubel of Simon Fraser University revealed that the 2.5 million immigrants who came to Canada between 1990 and 2002 received $18.3 billion more in government services and benefits in 2002 than they paid in taxes. As Prof. Grubel points out, this amount is more than the federal government spent on health care and twice what was spent on defence in the fiscal year of 2000/2001. Isn't it time our party leaders were made aware of this study?
In the discussions about immigration we never hear from our political leaders about the serious environmental problems caused by the addition of over a quarter of a million immigrants each year. Most of our immigrants are coming from developing countries of Asia where their "ecological footprint" is tiny compared to the average Canadian but within months of arrival here the immigrant's footprint has increased to our giant size.
We have already experienced the impact mass migration has had on the health, education, traffic, social services and crime rates of our three major urban centres. It may be that cutting the immigration flow in half would do more than any gas tax to help reduce our environmental pollution.
If immigration is to be an issue in the election campaign then let us insist that the real issues be discussed and that our politicians contribute more to the debate than promising higher levels and more money to immigrant groups. Canadians and immigrants deserve better.
#main-fn1" id="main-fn1">1. #main-fn1-txt">↑ James Bissett may have overlooked the "growth lobby". The growth lobby was the subject of Sheila Newman's 2002 "Master's Thesis The Growth Lobby and its Absence : The Relationship between the Property Development and Housing Industries and Immigration Policy in Australia and France". Look for it on candobetter.org/sheila/. Paradoxically, as members of societies such as Canada, become, on the whole, more impoverished as the overall available natural resources, including land, have to be divided amongst ever larger numbers of people, a minority, principally land speculators, property developers and related commercial interests profit at the expense of everybody else. It is members of this growth lobby which are the most generous donors to larger political parties in countries such as Canada, Australia and the U.S. and who these parties principally serve once in government.
#main-fn2" id="main-fn2">2. #main-fn2-txt">↑ This may be problematic point for opponents of high immigration in that it can appear to run counter to another argument often made against immigration, that is, that being that it is immoral for first world countries to set about poaching skilled workers at the expense of other countries, particularly poor third world countries. This has been the acknowledged policy of the pro-population growth Labor Government of the state of Queensland in Australia. Either one or both of current Premier Anna Bligh and former Premier Peter Beattie (I am not sure which) openly stated that they "shamelessly" recruited skilled workers from other countries. In theory, it's possible for a country to gain at the expense of another through immigration, if the component of skilled immigrants is high enough and others within the receiving country are not displaced by the skilled immigrants, but, in practice, both countries, as well as the whole planet nearly always lose.
Those Australians uncorrupted by the ubiquitous US media, are gobsmacked by the utter tastelessness that passes as attractive in US presidential candidates. Sarah Palin, the latest republican candidate for USA Vice President, epitomises this trend.
Championing selected human rights, apparently prepared to sacrifice her own daughter to a public shot-gun marriage, she seems like a high-tech cartoon of a religious reactionary. It is chilling to realise that the violent religious right are among the few which the press and corporations want to motivate to vote in the US client state. The rest of the American voters are largely kept very bored with the notion of exerting some say in their own fates.
Not just tasteless; malice and stupidity caught on film:
I was bemused, impotent - until I saw this film. Then I realised how bad Sarah Palin must be, how bad the US situation must be - politically and for wild as well as domesticated species - tortured and harassed the way they were in Roman circuses and for the same political ends.
This three minute video about Sarah Palin's appallingly cruel record on wildlife also tells us about the beautiful Alaskan wilderness.
A rare chance to speak up for wildlife and be heard world-wide
The world is watching Sarah Palin.
Please don't give into apathy here, because the high profile of this ignorant woman, gives those of us with an ounce of decency, an opportunity at world-wide level, to show the US Republicans that shooting animals whose habitat is already beseiged by US overpopulation and economic greed - for sport - goes way beyond the bounds of decency.
The situation and the values appear to be quite depraved. The bible bashing that accompanies this grand-scale human bullying is nauseating and frightening. How widespread is this emotionally blunted contempt for nature and blindness to beauty or compassion in the mainstream religions?
Time now for religious leaders to rise up and condemn and ostracise this woman and the entire party which endorses her, or forever be condemned by their already long record of silence on such things.
On top of her apparent absence of normal compassion, this woman who according to my values is insane, actually models the brutal execution of wildlife using technologically intensive weaponry from petroleum-guzzling small airplanes. This is frightening ignorance of here and now petroleum costs and scarcity in a world where the US has actually gone to war for more petroleum. This is oil-profligacy in a political context where even her own party is advocating reducing foreign oil dependency. For every drop of oil, how many drops of human and other blood and sap in our turbo-vandalised natural world?
Is Right to Life a political mechanism to draw energy from reasonable people?
It makes you wonder if Right to Life is just an impossibly confusing, diabolically effective smokescreen to cover up total immorality, utter selfishness, blind, driving ambition, compulsive wastefulness and money-worship in the US political Right. Are the religious right of the Republicans its moral orcs?
Big money that endorses Republican cruelty should withdraw it or face consumer consequences
And, for those of us who spend nearly all our lives fighting against the needless, heart-breaking suffering which proceeds at an industrial rate, how appalling is the information that big money backs this suffering and keeps it accelerating and amplifying. If that money were to be taken from Sarah Palin and the Republican Party which has endorsed such unspeakable acts, how much kinder, overnight, the world would become.
I hope that someone will write an article about those organisations which have funded Palin and the Republicans so that we on candobetter can name their CEOs and associate them with these deeds.
Like a gothic fairy-tale
Sarah Palin is actually the Governor of Alaska. For more about this woman and for a very interesting comparison of economic benefits of passive wildlife observation vs violent rampaging and Palin's lack of interest in the first, have a look at this Alaskan website, Grizzly Bay Org. According to Grizzlybayorg, her parents guided her values in this.
It seems like a bad fairy-tale, doesn't it?
Roger Schlickeisen, of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, writes that acceptance by Sarah Palin of the Republican nomination for Vice President puts her second in line to be President of the United States. He says that he needs help "... to let America know where she stands on the brutal and needless aerial hunting of wolves and bears. He asks that people "Watch our new video on Palin’s awful record and share it with everyone you know who cares about wildlife." He warns that the "video is extremely disturbing. It contains graphic images of aerial hunting of wolves," and he adds that this is "a brutal and needless practice that Governor Palin has fought hard to promote and expand."
Palin targets wolves and bears from aircraft; offers costly bounties
Schlickeisen states that, "Despite strong scientific, ethical and public opposition to aerial hunting, Governor Palin has:
* Proposed paying a $150 bounty for the left foreleg of each dead wolf.
* Approved a $400,000 state-funded propaganda campaign to promote aerial hunting.
* Introduced legislation to make it even easier to use aircraft to hunt wolves and bears."
He asks, and I reiterate, "If you care about wildlife, please watch this video right now -- and then share it with every friend, neighbor, conservationist and wildlife lover you know."
Please share this video
"Please also share our video on blogs, social networks and elsewhere. I’ve pasted the link to the video below to help you spread the word: http://actionfund.defenders.org/palinvideo "
Original source of information about the film was 4-9-08 : Rodger Schlickeisen, President of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund: Subject: Video: Sarah Palin's Shameful Record on Wolves
Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund
Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund provides a powerful voice in Washington to Americans who value our conservation heritage. Through grassroots lobbying, issue advocacy and political campaigns, the Action Fund champions those laws and lawmakers that protect wildlife and wild places while working against those that do them harm.
Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund can be contacted at:
1130 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
or at www.defendersactionfund.org
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin Wins 2008 Rubber Dodo Award in biologicaldiversity.org of 17 Sep 08, Sarah Palin's record on environment is abysmal in seattlepi.nwsource.com of 5 Sep 08 by Rick Steiner and readers' comments,
New Orleans: The City That Won't Be Ignored in The Nation of 3 Sep 08 by Naomi Klein. How Democrat Barack Obama has incredibly surrendered critical ground to McCain in New Orleans, in which the the Rebublican Bush administration scandalously mismanaged the relief effort following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Brisbane's Courier Mail newspaper recently posed the question "Have these been the most boring elections?". This triggered an exchange of e-mails which began when Independent Mayoral candidate James Sinnamon wrote an open letter to the Courier Mail's City Hall reporter. See further below for Emma Chalmers' #reply1">reply and James Sinnamon's further #reply2">response.
Dear Emma Chalmers,
On page 11 of the Courier Mail of election day Saturday 15 March, you asked:
"Have these been the most boring Council elections?"
Given that your newspaper has systematically excluded any views which clash too markedly with the orthodoxy of the Courier Mail's editorial writers, is it any wonder?
And given the striking similarities between the policies of both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party, I would have thought that the Courier Mail, if it had wanted to inject any excitement into the campaign, let alone be objective and balanced, would have given more coverage to alternative views about how our city should progress.
As far as I can tell, all that Brisbane residents were able to learn from the pages of Courier Mail newspaper of my policies was contained within one sentence at the end of your article "Newman wary on rates as Rowell dithers on costings" of Friday 14 March#main-fn1">1 :
"... Mr Sinnamon ... wants a population cap."
Have I missed something?
It's not as if I had not provided you with material about me and it is not as if I didn't have something to say that was not relevant to the campaign or that was not different to what had been said by others. I sent you two media releases including links back to my web site (candobetter.wikispaces.com, candobetter.net #main-fn2">2). You interviewed me at City Hall on Thursday 14 March and you would have heard my contribution to the debate amongst the candidates.
Why was it not possible for your articles not to have fleshed out my views a little more? As examples:
- Why couldn't you have reported my point, backed up by the views of the Local Government Association, that it would have been impossible for Greg Rowell to keep his promise to keep rates at less than the rate of inflation without sacrificing current service levels service if population growth continues#main-fn1">3?
- Why couldn't the point I made during the debate on Friday, linking of Brisbane's current crisis of extreme housing unaffordability to Queensland's population growth, recklessly encouraged by Lord Mayor Campbell Newman, the BCC Labor Councillors, the Queensland State Government and, I would add, the Courier Mail, itself, have been reported in Saturday's Courier Mail#main-fn4">4?
- Why couldn't the point raised by members of the audience, and taken up by me, about Campbell Newman's failure to honour his 2004 election promise to Cannon Hill residents to save Minnippi Parklands, have been reported?
I will concede that I have been far less prolific than I wanted to be, due to time constraints, but I still believe that what I did provide you with certainly warranted considerably more than less than half of one sentence of coverage.
I believe that Lord Mayor Campbell Newman's unprecedented personal triumph of yesterday owes much to the Courier Mail's unbalanced reporting of the campaign and its unbalanced reporting, in past years, of issues at stake in Saturday's election - the North South Bypass Tunnel, the Hale Street Bridge, population growth, clearing of bushland, the water crisis, housing unaffordability, the second airport runway, the proposal for a new passenger ship terminal to cater for luxury passenger cruise ships, the bizarre proposal to entomb one third of the Brisbane River adjacent to the North Bank under concrete, etc.
As a result, Lord Mayor Campbell Newman intends to take this result as a mandate to continue with his extravagant plans to construct an alternative transport network underground and many other plans which, if not stopped, will destroy what remaining quality of life Brisbane has left to offer and its long term sustainability. Mr Newman's road infrastructure plans, given their ever-escalating costs and the ongoing depletion of the world's stocks of petroleum, make as much sense as the construction of pyramids by the Mayan rulers in the midst of the growing ecological crisis which was to ultimately destroy their civilisation.
The Brisbane residents will learn, to their cost, of the mistake they made on Saturday, and, when they do, I think many will reflect upon what factors influenced them to vote the way they did on Saturday.
As one intending to stand for office in 2012, I will have a lot to say about this in coming years. Will the Courier Mail be prepared, from now on, to report more objectively on these issues than it has in the past?
Finally, I have posted this to my web site. If you don't believe I have been fair to you in this letter, you are welcome to state why. I will post any response from you immediately below this letter, if you wish me to. Also, please feel welcome to phone me about this.
#main-fn1" id="main-fn1">1. See "Newman wary on rates as Rowell dithers on costings", Courier Mail, 14 March 2008. I would also like to point out that I don't think the photo of me does me justice. I did cooperate with the cameraman by looking down at him at an odd angle. I would have with appreciated either being advised to pose differently or having a better photo of me selected.
#main-fn2" id="main-fn2">2. The domain names begining with 'candobetter' predated any thoughts of my challenging 'Can Do' Campbell for election as Lord Mayor of Brisbane. I would have chosen 'wecandobetter.net', but that was taken. Nevertheless, I believe that Brisbane residents would have found the domain name to have been true of myself had I been elected.
#main-fn4" id="main-fn1">4. See "Newman's Liberals close on Brisbane majority", Courier Mail (online) of Friday 14 February. This story was at the URL www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,23376890-952,00.html, but is seems that the story at that location has been over-hastily removed and replaced with the story Landslide means Campbell Newman must deliver promises of Saturday 16 March.
Emma Chalmers response of Monday 17 March
Thank you for taking the time to put together a comprehensive email.
From what you have written it appears that you have already made up your mind about the reasons you feel that you didn't get adequate coverage during the election, so I don't feel that there is much I can say that will change your view.
As you would appreciate, we have many demands on space in our paper and, while a number of mayoral aspirants around Queensland would have liked greater coverage, we have an obligation to adequately scrutinise the promises being made by the major parties and major contenders. I note you secured 700 votes on Saturday.
As you would also appreciate, even if you were to be elected Lord Mayor, the agenda of one of the major parties would end up prevailing because you would not have the numbers on the council floor to push through your policies.
I will point out that you did manage to get your photo prominently in the paper on Thursday, a feat not managed by the bulk of the mayoral aspirants in Queensland, let alone in Brisbane.
Emma Chalmers, City Hall Reporter
James Sinnamon's further response of 20 March to Emma Chalmers
Dear Emma Chalmers,
Firstly, thank you for having taken the time to read my e-mail and respond to it. I have posted it to my website, immediately below my original letter. Please let me know if that is not OK. You are, of course, welcome to respond further, as is anyone else who wishes to either defend or criticise the Courier Mail's recent coverage of the Brisbane City Council's elections.
You wrote: From what you have written it appears that you have already made up your mind about the reasons you feel that you didn't get adequate coverage during the election, so I don't feel that there is much I can say that will change your view.
I believe that, to the contrary, I can fairly state that I am always open to persuasion by the evidence. I try to live by Keynes' dictum:
"When the facts change, I change my mind."#reply-fn1">1
At the moment, the overwhelming evidence is that, for the past four years at least, the Courier Mail has not provided balanced coverage of the issues at stake in last Saturday's elections. These include, as referred to in my earlier e-mail, the North South Bypass Tunnel and the Hale Street Bridge, in favour of which the Courier Mail has repeatedly published editorials, ignoring mountains of contrary evidence provided by experts, concerned citizens, and affected residents. I will pursue this further below.
You wrote: As you would appreciate, we have many demands on space in our paper and,while a number of mayoral aspirants around Queensland would have liked greater coverage ...
If you had only slightly reduced your newspaper's lavish, uncritical and fawning coverage of almost every word coming from Campbell Newman's campaign machine, I believe that you could easily have found the the space to give the independents more reasonable coverage.
Whilst I appreciate the Courier Mail's efforts to cover all of the local Government elections in Queensland, the Courier Mail is principally a Brisbane newspaper. So I would have thought it should have been able to manage, at one point over the past four weeks, to print a modest profile of each of the Mayoral candidates. If the local newspapers, B magazine, Qnews, with much more limited space, could have managed to do this then why not the Courier Mail? Certainly this could have been done with utmost ease on-line.
You wrote: ... we have an obligation to adequately scrutinise the promises being made by the major parties and major contenders. ...
But the fact is you did not. A case in point is the story of Thursday 13 March "It's plane to see, this Mayoral race has gone green" with a photo depicting Lord Mayor Campbell Newman accompanied by Virgin Blue flight attendants in front of a aeroplane pushing trolleys with seedlings . That planting a few trees around Brisbane can in any way offset the destruction of vegetation caused by land-clearing and infilling residential developments in the suburbs of Brisbane, let alone Mr Newman's efforts to make Brisbane more car-dependent than ever before, is hotly disputed by many. This is classic greenwashing. In case you wish to better understand how corporations and governments employ greenwashing in order to cover up their environmentally harmful activities, can I suggest you read the transcript#reply-fn2">2 of Radio National's Background Briefing documentary "Greenwashing" of 10 February 2008. The point made by Cannon Hill residents and myself during Friday's debate about Campbell Newman's failure to honour his 2004 election promise to protect the Minnippi Parklands was certainly relevant and, I believe should have been reported on those grounds alone.
In regard to the Hale Street toll bridge, far from scrutinising the case for the Hale Street Bridge, the Courier Mail has enthusiastically clamoured for the bridge to be built and has systematically censored from its pages nearly all views critical of the bridge.
The Courier Mail did not publish the media release#reply-fn3">3 of 24 February from the "Stop The Hale Street Bridge" group nor did it publish the informative and well-written feature article "What price for City Hall accountability?"#reply-fn4">4 submitted by Darren Godwell, President, West End Community Association on 5 March. Moreover, David Bratchford of the "Stop The Hale Street Group" tells me his letters are not published, including one in response to an editorial in favour of the Bridge.
Whilst the Courier Mail does, on occasions, carry stories about some of the more overt adverse consequences, including the traffic chaos anticipated in the Hale Street Bridge's construction and cost-blowouts, they seem to be quickly forgotten by your editorial writers or when pro-bridge propaganda from Mr Newman is reported.
The case for these extravagant white elephants in the face of looming world-wide depletion of petroleum supplies simply does not exist. I believe that if the Courier Mail had scrutinised Campbell Newman's case for these projects and his overall record, as you claim to have done, he could not have won last Saturday's election and those who had unambiguously stood against these polices would have received a much higher vote.
These examples are only the very tip of the iceberg of the Courier Mail's unbalanced reporting in favour of Campbell Newman.
You wrote: ... I note you secured 700 votes on Saturday.
My point of contention still stands. I had views which differed substantially from those of the major candidates and I believe that the Courier Mail should have reported those views, especially as you, yourself, had correctly observed how boring your unbalanced focus upon the major candidates, with little tangible policy differences, had made your coverage of the campaign. Had this happened, I believe my vote would have easily been much higher.
You wrote: As you would also appreciate, even if you were to be elected Lord Mayor, the agenda of one of the major parties would end up prevailing because you would not have the numbers on the council floor to push through your policies.
Thanks. I greatly appreciate that you have taken the trouble to speculate on an outcome that may not have been likely last Saturday. Had I had been elected, I think it would have also been likely that City Council would have consisted of many councillors other than those from the major parties. If, to the country, the council were to have been dominated by the major parties, I would, nevertheless, have continued to argue within the council and publicly for policies I believe to be in the best interests of the people of Brisbane. In such an unlikely scenario, I would hope that my views would be reported by the Courier Mail. As I believe my reasons to be sound, I see no reason why I would not have gained broad public support, in which case there would be no reason to assume that the Councillors could not be convinced to support my policies.
In contrast, I believe that if Campbell Newman's polices of the past four years had been truly in the interests of the people of Brisbane, then he would have had little difficulty in overcoming what he has labelled as 'obstruction' on the part of Labor majority leader David Hinchliffe. In most cases the reasons for Hinchliffe's 'obstruction' was well-founded community opposition to his white elephant projects, which, as I repeat, was not fairly reported in your newspaper. I believe that Lord Mayor Campbell Newman can count himself lucky that, instead of standing up for the affected communities, Hinchliffe gave in to him. I don't believe Campbell Newman would be Lord Mayor today, had David Hinchliffe stood his ground.
You wrote: I will point out that you did manage to get your photo prominently in the paper on Thursday, a feat not managed by the bulk of the mayoral aspirants in Queensland, let alone in Brisbane.
Of course I am grateful, but I had expected some publicity in return for my effort to be at the City Hall for that event. However, I was, frankly, aghast when I saw how that photo#reply-fn6">6 turned out. I did not recognise myself until after I had read my name under the caption under the newspaper. Others, who knew me, tell me that they were barely able to recognise me either. Perhaps, I have to get used to the fact that my thinning hair doesn't always lend itself to the photographic portraiture I would wish for, However, the Quest Newspaper photographer took some effort to make sure the photo he took turned out well. If your photographer had let me know how looking down at such an odd angle but not at the camera in the way I did had affected my appearance, I would certainly have posed differently.
I also believe that words describing what I stood for would have been more helpful to me than even a photo which had turned out well.
Finally, I realise that you may not necessarily be personally responsible for all of the matters of which I complain. Nevertheless, I have to deal with these issues at face value.
I still greatly appreciate the time and effort you have taken and your courtesy.
#reply-fn2" id="reply-fn2">2. See transcript of Radio National's Background Briefing documentary "Greenwashing" of 10 February 2008 at www.abc.net.au/rn/backgroundbriefing/stories/2008/2155943.htm.
#reply-fn3" id="reply-fn3">3. See "Hale Street record set straight in runup to Gabba ward election" of 24 Feb 08 at www.stopthehalestreetbridge.com/downloads/media releases/HSL_media_release_240208.pd, candobetter.net/node/336.
#reply-fn4" id="reply-fn4">4. See "What price for City Hall accountability?" of 5 Feb 08 at www.stopthehalestreetbridge.com/downloads/media releases/OpEdPieceFeb2008.pdf, candobetter.net/node/337
#reply-fn5" id="reply-fn5">5. See www.ecq.qld.gov.au/elections/local/lg2008/BrisbaneCity/results/Mayoral/summary.html
#reply-fn6" id="reply-fn6">6. See www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,23369923-3102,00.html
From ABC online news of Posted 25 October 2007
The Mayor of Naracoorte and Lucindale in south-east South Australia, Ken Grundy, wants voters in the federal election to write the words "reduce immigration" on the top of the ballot papers, to pressure political parties to restrict population growth.
Mr Grundy says Australia cannot handle a massive influx of people because of scarce water resources, increasing pollution and stressed electricity supplies.
He says he recently heard a target of having 50 million people in Australia by 2030 and says that is unrealistic.
"The other day we saw somebody over in Britain and Ireland begging people to come here," he said.
"I just think at the moment we just need to look at sustainability. We look at it in every other field, why don't we look at it with population?"
The Australian Electoral Commission says writing on top of the ballot paper will not make it invalid, as long as it does not obscure any other important information on the ballot form and no name which could identify the voter is written.